The Australian Institute for Innovation has today welcomed the Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda. The Institute noted that the Agenda is built on realistic and important assumptions, including:
- the recognition that history has taught us that the future cannot be predicted and therefore our systems and programs will need to be nimble:
- the importance of small business and in particular, innovative new enterprises in creating jobs and introducing new productivity tools;
- that the solution is less not more government but also not a weaker government; instead a government that fosters the environment in which enterprises can start and grow; and
- the importance of collaboration.
Paul Cheever, the Institute's Chief Executive, expressed some reservations.
“The Institute agrees with the Government's emphasis on the facilitation of the conditions to support new start-up growth enterprises and improve the translation of research,” Mr Cheever said. “This represents a critical, core prerequisite to meet the Government’s objective to position Australia to ‘compete with the best in the world’.
“While the programs to address the engagement gap between industry and research are important, we also need to address the gap between our large pools of capital and the risk capital needs of our innovative new growth enterprises.
"In addition, the gap between our commercialisation resources and our new growth enterprises is not the same as the industry/research divide, and requires a different facilitation.
"Fortunately, there are actions available to the Government, at very low cost to the budget, to enable the operational infrastructure to close these gaps, and the Institute stands ready to work with the Government and the new Commonwealth Science Council to accomplish this.”
Commenting on the Agenda's other core objectives to generate a lower cost, business friendly environment, a more skilled labour force, and a better economic infrastructure, Mr Cheever said: “It is interesting to reflect that the innovative use of new technologies will be the central means to achieve these outcomes, and that all the targeted outcomes will also be impacted by Government policies and programs yet to be articulated.”
These include how best to:
- ensure that government buying power supports our job-creating high growth firms;
- leverage the very significant expenditure of public funds on infrastructure in a way that supports not just the building of the physical assets but provides the opportunity for innovative new firms to evolve into sustainable industry sectors; and
- reinforce Australia's other known comparative advantages such as international education, tourism and professional services.
“We look forward to working with the Government and other stakeholders across all these issues," Mr Cheever said.
The Australian Institute for Innovation (a2i) is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising the understanding of the benefits of innovation for the Australian economy and to designing policy and program structures that mobilise capital and resources to support innovative new growth enterprises.